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Global aerospace research and early stage technology.

The challenge

The aerospace sector is evolving at a rapid pace, with new ideas, products, and markets emerging as potential disruptors to existing on-earth industries and well as contributing to the creation of new off-earth industries.

In order to stay ahead of these changes and negate the potential risks facing their core business, a leading multi-national aerospace organisation commissioned CSIRO Futures to explore emerging opportunities for new business offerings in relation to on-orbit manufacturing (manufacturing or assembling components in space) and the underpinning science and technology options for unlocking these opportunities.

Our approach

This project was delivered in two stages, both of which were heavily informed by consultation across CSIRO and the international space sector. The first involved a high-level exploratory review of the current state and emerging on-orbit manufacturing opportunities, which produced a list of 20 opportunities and their underpinning technologies.

The second stage involved developing a technology assessment and prioritisation framework to help our client select the three most attractive opportunities for their business. The framework considered technology and market maturity, technical limitations and alignment to the client's competitive advantages. Three opportunities were selected using this framework for which deeper analysis was performed, including identification of clear R&D next steps, potential partners, and high-level project plans.

The results

Two discrete R&D 'next step' projects were selected for R&D collaboration with the client. The aim of these projects is to launch experiments to the International Space Station within two years.

This project also helped the client better understand the current players in these emerging markets that could be viewed as either competitors or collaborators going forward.

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